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DOs and DON’Ts of pre-employment screening for job applicants

woman standing under treeOccupational health is a subcategory or a specialist healthcare branch which focuses on overall safety and wellbeing of the employees and employers at workplace; mainly involving physical and mental health. Occupational health specialists perform the screening process, aimed at:

  • Preventing work-related injuries and illnesses by awareness and encouraging safe activities while carefully monitoring health of the workers.
  • Protecting workers from unexpected accidents and health deterioration at the workplace by awareness, investigation and management where certain health problems are actually identified.
  • Promoting wellbeing and health of the workers by seeking core management’s commitment on following standards of health, safety and wellbeing. This particular step also involves positive support for sickness absence case management, work rehabilitation and fostering a healthier workforce.
Table of Content
1.Journey to Occupational Health
2.Pre-Employment Fitness Assessment
3.Benefits of Pre-Employment Health Screening
4.Essentials of Health Screening Questionnaire
5.Prospects of Occupational Health Screening
6.Legalities of Pre-Employment Screening

Journey to Occupational Health

Much like everything, health management is also a journey for which there isn’t a quick and eternal solution. Only adapting to healthy lifestyle habits would ensure safety and wellbeing at work as well as in personal life. That said; occupational health specialists are experienced professionals to look into workplace safety, vocational rehabilitation, effective sickness management and healthy work activities.

It all begins with detailed analysis and survey of the organisation in person as well as by taking feedback from every single member about overall safety practices. The process as well as guidelines may differ from an organisation to another, depending on the nature of operations as some have a harsher work environment especially those dealing with chemicals and heavy machinery.

Pre-Employment Fitness Assessment

Pre-employment fitness ensures an applicant is fit to perform the intended tasks in a risk-free and effective manner, without risking safety of other workers’ as well. Besides ensuring safety and wellbeing, occupational health also looks into necessary amendments and adjustments in current organisational policies that have so far been ineffective when it comes to physical and mental health.

The assessment is based on individual’s abilities and requirement of the job considering necessary safety and health risks, food safety standards and compliance to the state-approved laws. That said, appointing the appropriate staff can be costly but doing it right in the first place gives long-term benefits. The process would evaluate fitness or wellness of candidates in line with overall environment, activities, risks and hazards of the workplace.

Pre-employment, pre-placement or occupational health screening ensures reduced absenteeism, increased commitment and better performance of the employees at the workplace. It’s thus important for employers and management to ensure all workers and new applicants are fit to perform the desired role as well as the workplace itself doesn’t pose any threat to employees.

Benefits of Pre-Employment Health Screening

  • Identify work related risks and hazards that are against employment standards
  • Recommend managers on necessary fitness and health procedures specific to the particular organisation.
  • Provide the baseline or Standards of Procedure for pre-employment medical tests and health surveillance.
  • Offer necessary advice to the management (if and wherever necessary) for adjustment in the current health and safety policies while strictly adhering to the equal rights for the disabled or workers with particular medical conditions.

Essentials of Health Screening Questionnaire

Most of the organisations have a basic health screening questionnaire that adequately determines:

  • Overall fitness of the employees and applicants
  • Possible adverse effects related to individual’s health
  • Ensure nature of the job matches perfectly with worker’s physical and mental capabilities
  • Look into future aspects and long-term safety of the worker
  • Make sure the employees aren’t a threat to each other in terms of health safety and wellbeing

Organisation and management need to be aware of possible adjustments and improvement to the current standards.

Prospects of Occupational Health Screening

Irrespective of the size and nature of operations, all organisations need to have and comply with the pre-placement health standards. All potential applicants are liable to be medically screened for pre-existing health/medical conditions that may result in post-employment issues. That said, occupational health standards tend to vary with every organisation and nature of the job so make sure you’re being screened for appropriate roles and responsibilities.

Legalities of Pre-Employment Screening

For every country, the government sets the standards of workplace health and safety whereas organisations are liable to follow them which ensure optimum productivity, safety and welfare of all employees at work. Employers are first responsible to take risk assessment which will cover health and safety standards to ensure a risk-free, productive and healthier workplace from every aspect.

During the initial assessment, organisations also need to ensure that the occupational health policies don’t discriminate on the grounds of disability or gender. In case of any injury or pre-existing health anomaly that wouldn’t hamper the applicant’s productivity, such employees are eligible to work and have their rights protected against the legislative code of conduct, also set by the government. Pre-employment health screening is definitely applied to the following occupation(s);

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Professional drivers (LGV, trains, heavy-duty trucks, trolleys)
  • Flight crew
  • Emergency services (Police, Ambulance, Fire-fighters, Coastguards)
  • Food delivery
  • Confined space workers
  • Divers
  • Workers at height
  • Offshore crew
  • Safety critical workers

Now that you know about the healthcare screening essentials, be sure you know all about it to proceed in the right direction.